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What CEOs are reading in 2017

Leaders of some of the world’s biggest organizations share which books will keep them occupied in the weeks ahead.

Whether you’re heading to a Northern-hemisphere beach or hunkering down for a Southern-hemisphere winter, take inspiration from this eclectic and inspiring mix of fiction and nonfiction books, dog-eared and new. Find picks from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, the Dow Chemical Company’s Andrew Liveris, Maria Ramos of Barclays Africa Group, and General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Army, among others.

Alain Bejjani, Majid Al Futtaim Holding

Alain Bejjani

Serial Innovators: Firms That Change the World—Claudio Feser (John Wiley & Sons, 2011; nonfiction)

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World—Adam Grant (Penguin Books, 2017; nonfiction)

The Human Comedy: Selected Stories—Honoré de Balzac (New York Review Books Classics, 2014; fiction)

The Rock of Tanios—Amin Maalouf (Grasset, 1993; fiction)

Journaux: 1912–1940—Stefan Zweig (Belfond, 1996; fiction)

General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the General Staff, British Army

General Sir Nick Carter

Churchill: The Power of Words—Martin Gilbert (Da Capo Press, 2012; nonfiction)

Fighting Talk: Forty Maxims on War, Peace, and Strategy—Colin S. Gray (Potomac Books, 2009; nonfiction)

Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Managers: 50 Strategic Rules Updated for Today’s Business—Gerald A. Michaelson and Steven W. Michaelson (Adams Media, 2010; nonfiction)

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase

Jamie Dimon

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind—Yuval Noah Harari (Harper, 2015; nonfiction)





Tony Elumelu, chairman, Heirs Holdings

Tony Elumelu

Leading Change—John P. Kotter (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012; nonfiction)

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done—Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (Crown Business, 2002; nonfiction)

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t—Jim Collins (Harper Business, 2001; nonfiction)

Herman Gref, Sberbank

Herman Gref

Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They Are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them—Claudio Fernandez-Araoz (John Wiley & Sons, 2007; nonfiction)

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful!—Marshall Goldsmith (Profile Books, 2008; nonfiction)

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization—Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright (Harper Business, 2008; nonfiction)

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers—David Perlmutter, MD (Little, Brown and Company, 2013; nonfiction)

The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be—Moisés Naím (Basic Books, 2014; nonfiction)

Drew Houston, Dropbox

Drew Houston

Sam Walton: Made in America—Sam Walton (Bantam, 1993; nonfiction)

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World—Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen (MIT Press, 2016; nonfiction)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values—Robert M. Pirsig (William Morrow, 2005; nonfiction)

Gail Kelly, member of the Group of Thirty and former CEO, Westpac

Gail Kelly

Lab Girl—Hope Jahren (Vintage, February 2017; nonfiction)

Pachinko—Min Jin Lee (Grand Central Publishing, February 2017; fiction)

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics—Daniel James Brown (Penguin Books, 2014; nonfiction)

Andrew Liveris, the Dow Chemical Company

Andrew Liveris

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder—Arianna Huffington (Harmony, 2015; nonfiction)

The Sympathizer—Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, 2016; fiction)

The Quantum Spy—David Ignatius (W. W. Norton & Company, November 2017; fiction)

Francisco Pérez Mackenna, Quiñenco

Francisco Pérez Mackenna

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds—Michael Lewis (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016; nonfiction)

Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal—Eugene Soltes (PublicAffairs, 2016; nonfiction)

Life After Life—Kate Atkinson (Reagan Arthur Books, 2013; fiction)

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology—Jim Al-Khalili & Johnjoe McFadden (Crown, 2014; nonfiction)

Boom Towns: Restoring the Urban American Dream—Stephen J. K. Walters (Stanford University Press, 2014, nonfiction)

David McKay, Royal Bank of Canada

David McKay

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis—J. D. Vance (Harper, 2016; nonfiction)

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines—Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby (Harper Business, 2016; nonfiction)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind—Yuval Noah Harari (Harper, 2015; nonfiction)

Wild Ride: Inside Uber’s Quest for World Domination—Adam Lashinsky (Portfolio, May 2017; nonfiction)

Satya Nadella, Microsoft

Satya Nadella

Leonardo da Vinci—Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, October 2017; nonfiction)

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality—Jaron Lanier (Henry Holt and Co., November 2017; nonfiction)

Exit West—Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books, March 2017; fiction)

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City—Matthew Desmond (Broadway Books, February 2017; nonfiction)

Maria Ramos, Barclays Africa

Maria Ramos

The Gene: An Intimate History—Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, 2016; nonfiction)

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies—Nick Bostrom (Oxford University Press, 2014; nonfiction)

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness—Arundhati Roy (Knopf, June 2017; fiction)

Fabio Schvartsman, Vale

Fabio Schvartsman

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind—Yuval Noah Harari (Harper, 2015; nonfiction)

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike—Phil Knight (Scribner, 2016; nonfiction)

Sigmund Freud en son temps et dans le nôtre—Élisabeth Roudinesco (Seuil, 2014; nonfiction)

Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP

Sir Martin Sorrell

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency—James Andrew Miller (Custom House, 2016; nonfiction)

Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes—Richard Davenport-Hines (HarperCollins, 2015; nonfiction)

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future—Ashlee Vance (Ecco, 2015; nonfiction)

Dominic Barton, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company

Dominic Barton

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future—Kevin Kelly (Viking, 2016; nonfiction)

Easternization: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond—Gideon Rachman (Other Press, April 2017; nonfiction)

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow—Yuval Noah Harari (Harper, February 2017; nonfiction)

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